Leaving Dublin feels like leaving behind memories of how Seattle was fifteen years ago. The traffic here is manageable. There aren’t hordes of homeless citizens tucked into every public doorway, park, and unoccupied patch of land. Dublin’s rents are high. A two bedroom flat ranges between $1,250 to $1,875 a month. That’s still cheaper than Seattle.
Dublin has done a lot of things right. It’s public parks are well-maintained community gathering spaces. When the sun peaks out from behind the clouds every park is crowded with picnickers. At night the gates are locked.
Public transportation options are plentiful. Busses, rapid transit, and trains regularly take people in and out of the city. A three day LEAP pass cost $10 and gave us unlimited access to explore Dublin and the surrounding villages.
I wrote earlier that people were unfailingly polite. This continued to be true. There was an openness that Seattle’s insular communities rarely exhibit. Dublin isn’t the worst place to get lost in.
Of course we did see the odd doorway filled with someone sleeping out. More than a few panhandlers had that drug glazed look. On Saturday morning there were broken bottles from the night before. The debate about whether to repeal restrictions on abortion is creating a familiar divide. Given the fervor on both sides, the debate seems to be mostly civil. There will be family members who aren’t speaking to each other by the end though.
Heading to Spain from Dublin leaves a unique wistfulness. It creates a sense of nostalgia for the city we have always called home. The sense of comfort we feel in Dublin invites a need to engage in wider exploration. We made it to the fishing village of Howth, but not to Malahide Castle.
All that said, an extended layover in Dublin on the way to Spain makes perfect sense. The flight is less grueling. It’s possible to conquer jet lag before heading out in a rental car along the Spanish coast. That alone makes stopping in Dublin worth it, but then there’s the city and its people. We wound up being charmed!